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PPC for Lawyers: A Quick Start in Attorney Marketing

updated
January 23, 2022
14 min
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Marketing

According to the ABA, fewer than 47% of law firms have a marketing budget. Think about that. Almost half of the country’s law firms have set aside no money for attracting new clients.

That’s both a major mistake – and an amazing opportunity. Those law firms that do decide to market themselves have a massive advantage over those that don’t.

Out of the gate, you’re ahead of half the competition.

Most of your clients will begin their search for legal services online, so that’s where you want to meet them. And pay per click (PPC) advertising is one of the fastest ways to attract new leads for your law practice.

And pay per click (PPC) advertising is one of the fastest ways to attract new leads for your law practice

What is PPC for Lawyers?

PPC services for lawyers are aimed at internet advertising based on searches in Google and Bing. PPC works this way: your marketing company advertises and anytime someone clicks on one of your ads, they visit your website and hopefully take action, and Google or Bing charge you something for every click.

For example, if you are a divorce lawyer marketing your services north of Newark, and someone is looking for a divorce lawyer in Passaic, your ad will come up at the top of a list of options. Each click will drive more traffic to your site.

PPC campaigns for layers make sense because of the very specific nature of the business. Most attorneys practice locally and within a certain specialty, which makes them perfect for PPC.

PPC works on the same principle as other searches, but instead of scrolling down to find your site, PPC guarantees that your ad is visible at the top.  

Several factors come into play with pay-per-click for lawyers. Because it is based on keywords, you want to make certain that you’re using exactly the right ones. You want to use the same words and phrases your prospective clients use to look for lawyers and law firms like yours.

You want to do research and determine who your firm is competing with when it comes to SEO. You want clients to find you when they're searching for a solution to their problems and needs.

You want to be certain your law firm Google Business Profile is set up in the best possible way.

You want to be sure to optimize Google Analytics, a tool that measures and tracks your results and progress.

You want to be certain the crosslinks and backlinks and meta tags and other digital tools are all perfect so that searchers find you and bring people to you.

And you want to be absolutely confident that when someone clicks through to your website, it’s worth their while. You don’t want to pay to reach live ones only to find that you can’t land them.

Pros and Cons of PPC Marketing for Attorneys

When it's done well, PPC can be an excellent tool for law firms. Like every other form of advertising, though, PPC has advantages and disadvantages for lawyers, and you should make sure you understand these before laying out cash.

Advantages of PPC for Lawyers

Pay-per-click marketing for law firms works especially well when you’re trying to appeal to a particular client who is sitting at their computer actively looking online for an attorney. In other words, every day individuals who need representation, as opposed to corporations or governments. So, it’s especially useful in fields like:

PPC's biggest advantages are that it allows you to target demographics to a very fine degree – your specialty in your area. And you only pay when someone clicks.

Disadvantages of PPC for Lawyers

PPC is not for everyone. While there are many pros to PPC for lawyers, there are some cons as well.

For example, if you work in Constitutional law, you probably won’t have the same numbers of potential clients doing Internet searches as you would if you were in say, divorce law. In this case, it’s probably not worth the time and money you’d invest for the few clicks you’d receive.

Other disadvantages include:

Cost – clicks can be expensive. You pay for each click, but your website will probably convert only 2 to 4% of the visitors into engaged prospects. The others will simply walk away. Yet, those that do sign up with you, will more than make up the difference.

Time – PPC only excels if you build a solid campaign and refine your ads and landing pages to maximize the number of leads and minimize the cost per lead, which requires time and effort.

Competition – while the majority of firms don’t advertise, those that do tend to be concentrated in the specialty areas where PPC works best. This will make it more expensive.

Organics – many prospective clients will skip past the ads and go straight to the organically derived listings. In other words, some people prefer stuff they find doing simple searches over listings they perceive as ads.

PPC and SEO strategies, what is more effective for law practice

PPC vs SEO for Lawyers: Fast results with PPC Advertising

You’re wondering why you should pay for clicks if you can get them without spending any money. Why not just use search engine optimization (SEO) for lawyers?

Good question.

And the answer is simple - PPC gets you there much faster and with less effort.

You could build a law firm SEO campaign that brings you new clients – and it’s a great idea to do so.

But good SEO takes a considerable amount of time and a lot of work.

It’s a process and involves a lot of strategy, positioning, and interpretation of data to get your name to appear at the top of lists. You have to come up with just the right keywords and constantly refine your approach, adjusting to the data.

PPC does essentially the same thing, and requires some strategy, too, but it gets you into the game far quicker.

And it gets you results a lot faster than SEO would.

Types of PPC Advertising for Lawyers

Search engine-based PPC is by far the most popular way to pay per click, but it’s just one of a handful of options for law firms.

Search Ads

Search Ads PPC for Lawyers

Google ads searches make sense as a form of paid-search advertising law firms have used with success. They work.

Bing paid-search advertising can be effective, too.

As we’ve mentioned above, these ads are based on keywords and pop up at the top of search engine lists when people type in certain words and phrases.

They’re typically all text and usually look much like the organic lists that fall below them.

Potential clients will often click them thinking they are simply the result of their search, unaware that it’s paid advertising. They’re a very efficient way to get a lot of clicks very quickly.

An added benefit is that they generate great user data, too, so you can get a better understanding of your potential clients and their wants and needs.

Display Advertising for Law Firms

Lawyers have used display advertising for centuries. Back in the day, these were the ads you used to see in newspapers and on the sides of buses.

Today's display ads are far more effective.

They travel a lot further than those print rags and diesel buses used to and they are interactive.

Display ads are the boxes and bars you see at the tops and sides of web pages. They often have video or animated content, and you can get them to pop up when people are looking at other things, putting them right in their faces.

When potential clients click them, they’re taken right to a law firm landing page on your website, making for instant conversions.

Used well, display ads can be very productive tools for law firms.

Retargeting/Remarketing

When people search and surf online, they don’t always spend. More often than not, they simply wander someplace else before a deal is consummated.

Remarketing and retargeting allow you to follow them, so to speak.

Law firm retargeting campaigns are often part of a long-term strategy. Say someone visited your site once (on average only 2 to 4% of all people who visit websites will take action during the first visit). Later, when they’re on the web, your ad will appear, reminding them who you are and what you can offer them.

These ads can be in the form of a banner or a video. They can be found on many third-party websites and videos on YouTube.

Google Local Services Ads (LSAs)

Local Services Ads for Lawyers

Google Local Services Ads are a form of pay-per-lead advertising that works particularly well for lawyers because they aim directly at your service area.

Most law firms are locally owned, and if you’re in Passaic, New Jersey, say, ads that appear in Seattle are unlikely to help you much.

You want your firm presented to people searching for representation in the area where you work, and that’s precisely the case with local service ads for lawyers.

These ads appear alongside Google search results when people type in keywords.

Not only do they allow you to pinpoint your region very specifically, they add another benefit: you only pay when people contact you. If nothing sticks and no one clicks, you’re out nothing.

Key Components of PPC Campaigns for Lawyers

Pay-per-click campaigns for lawyers can consist of any combination of these advertising elements. Some types will work better than others depending upon your location, your practice areas, and your goals. But an effective campaign should always include a few critical components.

Smart Keyword Research

What’s in a word?

Everything.

With PPC advertising, keywords are just that: key. They sit at the very core of the law firm digital marketing.

And they are extremely powerful, as you can advertise to people looking for services exactly like the ones you provide. For example: If you offer personal injury representation in Indiana, you want to be damn sure your name is among the first to come up when someone in Bloomington seeks out help after being hit by a car, like “personal injury lawyer near me” or “accident lawyer near me.”

Though it’s a simple concept, the keyword search is a deceptively deep subject.

You could spend hours or days reading about smart keyword targeting, about exact matches and broad matches, about long-tail keywords that cost less and have less competition than general terms.

Google’s Smart Keyword Planner lays out the landscape in very concise terms and is a great place to start.

This useful tool allows you to see exactly what terms people use when they search in your area of interest, how much various words cost, and how best to put your keywords to work for your law firm.

You can research terms, test your keywords, and create a precise strategy to appeal to potential clients.

Quality Ad Copy

Your ads must closely match the keywords people use to search. So, if someone is searching for a “personal injury lawyer near me” an ad that states “Multidisciplinary law firm since 1983” does not provide as much context as “One of the top-rated lawyers specializing in helping accident victims get justice.”

A boring, poorly-conceived and worse-yet poorly executed PPC law firm advertisement doesn’t help anyone.

Actually, it does help someone – other attorneys.

A bad ad will likely have an effect opposite to the one you want, driving people to the doors of the competition.

You’d be buying ads for them.

You want to create an ad that people click on because they want to know more about you before picking up the phone and calling or submitting a request through a Contact Us form.

You want it to be clear and informative. You want it to speak to your target audience, giving the potential client what they want to see.

You want a call to action, which encourages people to seek out what you’re offering.

And you want it to link to a page on your website that closely matches their search query. If you send them to a generic page, like the homepage, they are unlikely to convert - and you are likely to waste a lot of money.

Landing Pages

So, you’ve come up with a great ad. It lands perfectly with your potential clients and your site all but explodes with incoming visitors.

Great!

You better be certain that your site is ready for them.

You don’t want to attract all kinds of prospects only to disappoint them.

The best PPC advertising for lawyers creates interest and then keeps it, following through to conversion.

Your landing page is of primary importance. The old first-impression cliches go here: you won’t get another chance if people don’t like what they see.

In a well-orchestrated campaign, your website content is well matched to the ad that attracted clients to visit.

Keywords, obviously, are vital.

Everything should work together in an integrated package.

You want your site to be attractive, comfortable, and easy to navigate. You want to provide all the information people need to know to decide to hire you. Law firms should appear trustworthy, capable, solid, and those are the messages your landing page should transmit.

Most importantly, you should have a CTA button – a link that hooks your client – that is super easy to recognize and click.

You want the journey from ad to conversion to be as simple and straightforward as possible.

Performance Monitoring and Budget Managing

With PPC, not only are you out there advertising, you’re getting a constant read on the effectiveness of your ads.

Due to its very nature, pay-per-click for lawyers gives you a steady supply of data – you know exactly when people are responding and what they are responding to.

This kind of intel helps you monitor the performance of your ads. It also allows you to quickly adjust and make changes, honing your message so that it reaches the maximum number of interested eyes.

If a word isn't working for you, you can switch it up. You also gain valuable information about which keywords work for your business and which ones don’t. You learn where you should be focusing your law firm ad budget.

With PPC you pay for what works, but, if you do not execute correctly, you will pay for what does not work as well.  

And finally, you get invaluable data about your potential clients and their wants and needs. This will not only help you attract them, but it will also help you serve them when you land them.

There are several terms you need to know to keep track of your ads.

Use Click-Through Rate for PPC performance monitoring

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The click-through rate measures the number of people who actually click on an ad against the number of people who see the ad. It’s usually listed as a percentage.

If 100 people look at an ad and 5 people click on it, that represents a 5% CTR. Obviously, the best PPC for law firms has a high CTR.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Just as it sounds, cost per click represents the amount of money your law firm pays for each hit – it's the pay in pay per click. The fee varies across platforms and by region. In this case, the lower the better.

Cost per acquisition (CPA)

CPA is how much your firm spends on getting a visitor to take action, such as placing an inquiry through your website’s contact us form. Like CPC, this will vary, and you want it to be as low as you can get it.

Return on Investment (ROI)

This is the classic business 101 metric: how much you are getting for what you are paying. Is the return – the number of new clients for your law office, say – worth the amount you are spending to get them? ROI is one of the most attractive things about PPC.

How Much Does PPC for Attorneys Cost?

You’ve decided this pay-per-click sounds like a good investment for your firm.

How much should you expect to spend?

It depends.

The practice area, both geographically and specialty wise, goes a long way in determining what you’ll pay for PPC.

Again, it’s a supply-and-demand issue.

If you are a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles, you’ll pay far more for clicks than you would if you were an environmental lawyer in Silverton, Colorado.

Clicks may cost as little as less than $1, but, in those areas with a lot of demand for services and a lot of firms competing for the clients, clicks can be well above $100 (e.g.: personal injury lawyers in Manhattan or Chicago).

Your marketing company must be vigilant in tracking costs and comparing them to the results.

Making the Decision

If PPC makes sense for anyone, it makes sense for lawyers. Pay-per-click advertising is an extraordinarily effective marketing tool when used well.

You can connect with exactly the individual who is looking for your services in your area, and you can do so in a very cost-effective way.

PPC gets results for lawyers.

Because so few firms even have a marketing budget, you begin well out in front, and it gets better from there.

But PPC only works if you do it right.

Make sure you’re capable of creating an effective campaign.

If not - if, like so many attorneys, you're better at practicing law than designing ads – you should hire a professional law firm digital marketing agency to make the most of this exciting tool. (Hint: find one with expertise in legal marketing.)

At Grow Law Firm we help build a great PPC strategy for law companies.

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October, 31st
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    Sasha Berson is a legal marketing expert

    Sasha serves as Managing Partner for Grow Law Firm, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency focused solely on specialized growth strategies for attorneys and their practices.

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